10/25/07 — Aycock downs Eastern Wayne for ECC title

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Aycock downs Eastern Wayne for ECC title

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on October 25, 2007 1:49 PM

A rainy night with lightning flashing in the distance, a pair of bitter rivals and a trophy on the line.

This one had all the trimmings for another Eastern Wayne-Charles B. Aycock men's soccer classic.

And it was.

The Golden Falcons rallied from a 1-0 deficit to down the Warriors 4-2 and claimed their third straight Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference tournament title on Wednesday night at Little Big Horn.

C.B. Aycock (17-2-1 overall) claimed its program-best 16th consecutive win.

Chris Knobling headed home a ball that deflected off the crossbar in the 12th minute to give Eastern Wayne a 1-0 lead.

Trailing for just the third time this season, the Golden Falcons answered just six minutes later when Alex Rodriguez banged in a deflection off a shot from Jorge Delgado.

Rodriguez struck again in the 28th minute. The Warriors' Sang Kim attempted to play a ball through Eastern Wayne's 18-yard box. Rodriguez stepped in front and beat keeper Josh Olmsted.

Having gone from trailing to out in front, C.B. Aycock looked to deliver an early knockout punch.

In the 30th minute, Rodriguez served a throw-in into the 18-yard box. The ball ricocheted off a Warriors' defender and right to the feet of the Golden Falcons' Gavin Forrest. Forrest played a ball to Delgado, who stuck it in the back of the net for a 3-1 advantage.

"We probably had two assists on Aycock goals in the first half," Eastern Wayne coach Jorg Wagner said. "We knew that Aycock was looking for the long ball, they always do. They always look for Rodriguez."

Despite a sloppy first half, Eastern Wayne wouldn't go quietly into the night.

After Robbie Keys was tackled near the top of the 18-yard box, the Warriors capitalized on a scoring opportunity in the 46th minute. Keys snuck a ball in the bottom left corner of the goal off a deflection on the ensuing free kick.

From there, the Warriors' seemed to be knocking on the door of opportunity while dominating possession for the final 30-plus minutes. Time and time again, however, the Golden Falcons managed to slam the door shut.

A free kick from 20 yards out in the 66th minute didn't materialize. A minute later, Keys slipped past Aycock's Alex Roosen and was all alone with keeper Brandon Davis. Davis made a critical point-blank save on Keys, and was able to turn away the rebound off the foot of Knobling.

Knobling missed wide right in the 76th minute, and Bryan Coltrane's free kick from 30 yards out in the final minute landed right in Davis' hands. Davis finished with four saves.

"Our defense has been solid," Aycock assistant coach Byron Adkins said. "We've only allowed 17 goals. They're doing their thing back there. The two goals Eastern Wayne got, we created our own problems back there."

With less than a minute to play, Rodriguez put the finishing touches on another ECC title with his third goal of the night. Aycock finished with a 10-4 shots on goal advantage.

The Warriors controlled play in the final 40 minutes, and were perhaps a few mistakes, or one converted scoring chance from forcing overtime. While its quest to play spoiler, Eastern Wayne did secure its 11th straight postseason berth.

"In all the games we've played against Aycock, this was probably our best half against them," Wagner said. "In the second half we did what we were supposed to do, we stopped the long ball. If we do that in the first half, maybe we win the game."

Having crossed yet another task off its lengthy to-do list, Aycock can now turn its attention squarely to the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs. The Golden Falcons will be at home in Pikeville through at least the third round.

"We're really focused," Adkins said. "They're ready to go, and they're ready for whatever result may come on Monday. The boys love playing with each other.

"We're not just a one-man team. We're 23 boys playing hard. Tonight we proved to Eastern Wayne that we're not just one dimensional with Alex Rodriguez."